NHS

New technology could enable Instagram to count calories in pictures of food

Google is developing an artificial intelligence project that will make Instagram capable of calculating the calories in pictures of food.
The project, called Im2Calories, will use “sophisticated deep-learning algorithms” to judge the size of a food portio, according to Google researcher Kevin P. Murphy.
Im2Calories, which was announced at the Rework Deep Learning Summit, has apparently already been patented.
The technology could offer huge benefits to anyone who needs to carefully manage their intake of food, including people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The technology would be particularly useful for people with diabetes if it was also capable of calculating carbohydrates, but this is not currently part of Google’s plan.
Development is very much at a preliminary stage. Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds announced that the algorithms were still being research.
Nevertheless, Murphy has been keen to stress the technology’s exciting potential:
“To me it’s obvious that people really want this and this is really useful. Okay fine, maybe we get the calories of by 20 per cent. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to average over a week or a month or a year,” he said.
“Now we can start to potentially join information from multiple people and start to do population-level statistics. I have colleagues in epidemiology and public health, and they really want this stuff.”

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